Today Aimee and I are going to walk you through how to set your goals and plan for a successful year, by using the same 3 step process that we personally use in our own lives and businesses. We both use this process FREQUENTLY, for long term planning but also for smaller projects. Going through these steps reminds us to stay focused on the big picture each year and dream bigger, create an action plan to make our dreams come to life, and create the habits necessary to actually make it all happen.
In Episode 3 we’re walking you through how to plan your best year yet, and how you can use habits in your life and business to make changes or shifts and actually achieve your goals.
At the time we’re publishing this episode, we’re going into a new year (2019), but keep in mind that you are allowed to reset at any time in your life. It doesn’t have to be the start of a new year to think about changing your goals and vision for your life and business. So, whenever you’re finding this episode, you’re in exactly the right place, and the time is NOW to use this process!
If you’ve struggled in the past (or maybe you’re struggling right now) to see the growth that you dream of, that you know deep down you’re capable of, or if you don’t yet have a clear vision of WHERE you want to go this year, we’re so glad that you’re here with us today. Let’s go!
You can listen to this episode here, or on your favorite podcast platform:
We’ve also created a download you guys can download that walks you through this process, and it’ll be super helpful to refer to and use as you go through these steps for yourself! It is so important to get your goals and plans down on PAPER and VERBALIZE them!
So, the three steps we’re going to cover today are:
#1: How to DREAM bigger
#2: How to Make a detailed plan
#3: How to Create effective habits and break non-effective habits
Keep in mind, this is a process that can be used to plan your big picture for an entire year, but it can also be used to plan for small projects, or even to map out a successful day. We actually used this process to create this podcast!
Before we dive into the first step, it’s also important to identify that when you are ready to plan out your year you need to set aside time and space in your life and business – that may look like a full day or even a weekend dedicated to this process. We have a good friend on our team who just spent 3 days with one of her friends at an AirBNB to plan out her year and set new goals. The important thing is that you commit to setting aside distraction-free time for this process. Don’t let yourself get so caught up in busyness, that you’re not working on your business. Make the space to dream and plan at least once a year (if not more often) like this is crucial.
STEP 1: DREAM BIGGER
OK, so let’s start with the first step, which is DREAM bigger. This is basically the step where you’re going to set your goals for the year and get them written down.
Something we’ve learned, especially these last couple of years, is that especially as women, we tend to hold ourselves back. For example: Maybe every once in awhile you’ll have a moment where you imagine yourself going really BIG – whatever that means for you….maybe every once in awhile you see this flash of inspiration where you imagine yourself speaking on a big stage, having financial success beyond your wildest dreams, impacting millions of people, or even just quitting your day job and going full time….and it’s like this tiny flash, but then your inner critic speaks up and you think – uh, no way. Not me. You may think: “Other people are already doing it better that I ever could, what’s the point. Or, I’m not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough, or whatever.”
And what we tend to do, when we feel intimidated by big dreams, is we avoid looking at them or acknowledging them, and we definitely avoid making plan to achieve them. We let ourselves get distracted with the day to day hustle. Or, sometimes, we let someone else tell us that our dreams are crazy or stupid and take them away from us. But for me, there’s always been this little tug or pull towards something bigger. If you’re here, as part of our Business & Motherhood community, we’re betting you feel it too.
Additionally, oftentimes as moms, some of us don’t feel like we GET to have big dreams, let alone pursue them, so they never ask. We are often just giving, giving, giving, to everyone else and taking care of everyone else, and it can even feel selfish to want your own “thing.” We get that! So, it’s important to start this process by giving yourself permission to have a dream put it down on paper. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going, so once you establish your dreams and goals you can take action make them happen! So, seriously, wherever you are right now, just take a second and say out loud – “I’m allowed to dream.” Go ahead. We’ll say it with you, let’s make this real. Say: “I’m allowed to dream.”
Now that you’ve cleared that up with yourself, let’s work on the actual process of dreaming. For some of you, this may sound silly, but for so many people – dreaming just doesn’t happen naturally or big enough! First, we have some questions that you need to dig deep and ask yourself:
Also, how do you dream big if it’s something you aren’t used to doing? One thing that has really helped both of us is to use other’s stories as inspiration! Find people who’ve pushed through multiple setbacks and continue to find success in surprising ways. Who inspires you? Read their book and let their stories encourage you to think bigger! This is personal development! Don’t let it stop. No matter where you are in your life or in your dreams, you can always learn something from someone else’s story.
Magnolia Homes/Joanna Gaines (Anna just read her book)
Will Smith + family (Red Table Talk – google it!)
Lewis Howes’ Podcast
Another helpful tactic for dreaming bigger is is to establish or grow relationships with the dreamers and go-getters in your life. But, be careful with this and make sure you’re avoiding negative influences! They say that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Who are those 5 people for you? Do they lift you up and encourage you to grow? You want to surround yourself with people who Find JOY in their successes, and find joy in YOUR successes, too. We’re telling you – the women we surround ourselves with, the women on our team – it’s a freaking party every single day, even on the hard days we pass around JOY and encouragement, and it has changed our lives to have that type of work environment. We celebrate every success for every person, and we lift people up. When you find those people ask them about what they can see in you – where they think you could go! If you don’t have those people in your life YET – go ask someone close to you what they think you do well and to help you with your vision.
Once you’ve written your answers down, read your answers out loud to yourself, and we want you to ask yourself, did you play it safe? Did you say “I want to increase my income by $10,000 this year?” Or did you say, “I want to double my income, increase my social media following to 10,000, and be interviewed by [insert your dream person here] to talk about how I changed my world so drastically this year.” Ok – so those aren’t everyone’s dreams, but you get the point. If you’re listening to this, we know you’re ambitious and you’ve got big dreams. So, again, we dare you to DREAM BIG. Bigger than you’ve ever thought possible. What do you REALLY WANT this year??? Write it down. Verbalize it. So what if you don’t get there this year – – – we can guarantee you’ll get WAY further than you ever would have without those big dreams of yours.
OK, and now we actually want to switch gears now and for us to start talking about money. Which, actually, is the next step in this process anyway. The next thing you need to write down is: How much do you want to make this year? Give yourself permission to make money! Don’t be afraid of this. Some of you probably think we’re crazy for having to even say that – but we know the other half of you are shaking your heads right now, knowing this is a big mental block for you. YOU DESERVE an amazing salary. Do not undercut yourself in your dreams or in your application of your dreams. More money = more impact. Think about how much you need to make this year in order to not only cover your business costs, but also pay yourself your ideal salary. If you struggle with your numbers, let us know if you need help with this and want us to do a future episode on pricing and costs of doing business! And what we want you to do is to actually write yourself a check for the total amount you want your business to bring in this year. Get an actual check out, or print out a template of one, and physically fill it out! Do not skip this, because mentally, this is a huge step. Fill the check out with your number, and just don’t overthink this. Yes, you do want to consider your expenses, taxes, and how much you want to actually pay yourself this year….but even if you aren’t totally sure about those numbers in this moment, just put a number down on paper for yourself for this year!
And remember, we’re all at different places in life and business. For some of you, your goal may be $10,000 and for some of you it may be a million. No judgements here, just put in the number that makes you feel proud and excited.
OK, so now that you are starting to dream bigger, we also want you to think about visualize your dreams coming true. Spending a little time doing this every day is so motivating. What does it look like? What does it feel like? TALK about it with others, share your big dreams with the people who encourage you! The more you integrate these dreams into your reality, the more likely you are to succeed in them. Everything is possible. The real question is ‘How bad do you want it?’
Now – all of this being said. We are moms. We have other MAJOR priorities in our lives! So when you are making these BIG goals – be realistic with yourself in how long it may take to get there. Right now your big goal might be to open up a cake making storefront that is profitable in it’s first year. If you are sitting in a rocking chair nursing a three month old – that year probably isn’t going to be THIS year. BUT when you start breaking that goal down you can start to identify what you can do this year to get you closer to your ultimate goal. It might be listening to podcasts while you nurse and cook. It might be designing one cake a month just for fun. Making your goals is a mixture of mindset and strategy. So think big, and think smart.
STEP 2: MAKE A DETAILED PLAN
Alright, let’s move on to step #2, which is making a detailed plan. Don’t worry, this step doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds, and it can even be fun! And that’s actually a point we want to make – if this process feels scary or stressful to you (especially this step where you make your plan), it’s important to identify WHY it makes you anxious, so you can confront those feelings. This step really should be exciting and fun, so let your mindset go to to the positive and don’t let negativity or doubt slip in. Just for this one day, allow yourself to feel that what you truly want for yourself is possible, and think about HOW you’d get there and specifically WHAT you’ll need to do to make it happen.
So, before you make your specific plan for this year, we want you to take a few minutes to just take note of how your last year has gone for you. So, a few good things to write down from your previous year:
-How much did your business bring in last year?
-What were your total expenses?
-What was your net profit?
-How much did you pay yourself?
And then, we want you to write down a couple more things about the previous year:
-What worked for you this past year? And we want you to write down the things that not only were effective in your business or profitable, but also the things that were fun for you to do (maybe a styled shoot for photographers for example)! What habits did you have in your life and business that served you well?
-What didn’t work for you this past year? What wasn’t effective for you? What was a flop? What did you do, but just really not enjoy? What habits did you have this year that dragged you down and got in your way for being your most productive, happiest self? Take notice of all of that, and make a list.
Alright, now that you’ve taken some time to look back at the last year, it’s time to start looking forward:
Let’s start planning out those goals to get you to your dreams! What is your main goal for this year? The one goal that everything else is attached to? Make 100 grand? Open your pilates studio? Make a specific rank in your company? Whatever that is, write it at the top of your page. We’d encourage you to think of a revenue goal for the year – not just a project! We know that can be really hard for people, so if that’s too abstract for you, then be more goal specific for this. We feel a separate podcast coming about that…
Now that you’ve discovered your main focus of the year, we want you to brainstorm a list of all the things you could do to get you there. This is obviously going to be different for everyone….but – what needs to potentially happen this year for you to achieve your main goal? For example, how many clients do you want to work with (and how many can you work with without burning out???), what are you going to sell, do you want to sell a new product or service this year, what promotion do you want to hit, how much do you want to grow your team, how will you be marketing your product or service? Maybe you want to add new offerings for your customers, maybe you want to start selling digital products or create an online course? The possibilities are endless and different for everyone. Just do a brain dump of all the ideas you have on how you’ll make money in your business this year, even if you don’t think they’re great – get it all out of your brain and down on paper!
For the next step, we want you to look at your list of ideas, and pick your top 6 ways that you plan to generate income for your business this year, and circle them or highlight them somehow. Then, what you’re going to do is get out a fresh sheet of paper (or this is where our free download will come in really handy as you go through this process because we’ve got this page already laid out for you step by step to fill in), so anyway, you’re going to start by writing your overarching goal at the top (in this case if it’s an income goal for your year, the number you wrote on that check to yourself), and then down below you’re going to list out those top 6 ideas you selected for the year, and underneath each one of those, you’re going to list the general steps you’re going to need to take to bring them to life. What general steps do you physically need to take to make each one happen?
And remember, all of these ideas simply lead into your overarching goal up at the top. If you have a financial goal, make sure you include numbers, to map out your revenue goals. For example, if you’re going to launch a new product – how many do you want to sell, how much generally will each one cost, and how will that contribute towards your overall revenue goal for your business for the year. Think of this as a rough draft…an educated guess. Business is fluid, so you can keep looking back at these numbers throughout the year and adjust as necessary. You may find one section is more profitable than you expected, so you can spend more time on that OR you may find one section isn’t as profitable as you expected and it’s time to funnel your resources into something else in order to be able to hit your main revenue goal.
So, what you end up with, for this step, is a paper that lists the 6 major things you’re going to do this year to achieve your goal or generate your desired income for your business, and the action steps you need to take to make it happen….and it’s so cool to see it all laid out like this. None of us are going to be winging it this year, you guys, we’ve got a plan!
Also – if you have decided to plan for your desired income and you are not an abstract thinker – be kind to your brain! These are goals to strive for! They may change throughout the year, and that’s ok! And just FYI, this goal setting page that you’re currently working on, it can be repurposed for smaller goals and projects also, not just big annual planning! This is the process we used to help us launch this podcast, and that we use for all of our projects as well as bigger annual planning! Instead of your annual goal or revenue goal at the top, we just wrote “Launch Podcast” as the main goal at the top. It’s just nice to be able to lay everything out in an organized and cohesive way, even for smaller projects.
OK, so once you’ve listed out your 6 main goals and the action steps they’ll require, and you’ve made sure they all contribute to and add up to your goal up at the top, your next step is lay them out in your calendar for the year, or whatever your timeline is your main goal.
This is such a key step for me, because it helps you see everything all mapped out for the year and how everything will fit together. You want to make sure you’re not overtasking yourself, and that all of your tasks are laid out logically. This also helps make your plan REAL, because you’re attaching timelines and dates to your goals. Pull out your monthly calendars and start plugging in these tasks and goals. Post your action plan and dates somewhere that you’ll see them daily. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE to making these dates as much as you possibly can! That being said, please don’t forget you have a life. Lives have a funny way of throwing things at us to slow us down. As moms, we are all very familiar with this funny (and incredibly obnoxious) thing called “stuff happens.” That’s ok! If something major happens, go back to your plans and readjust accordingly! These goals and tasks aren’t meant to be stressful. They are there to inspire you and help you navigate your year to be as successful as you possibly can!
Now, you’ve set your goals and you’ve got a plan to make them happen, so it’s time to focus on mindset. Look at your goals for the year and take a few minutes to reflect and ask yourself: How does the “me” of the future, the “me” who accomplished all of these goals, show up everyday? How does this future, a year from now, version of me act, work, talk, dress, manage her time, and live her life? What kind of attitude does she have? And what do I need to change to get there?
And, you guys, just start freaking working towards showing up as that person today. Little shifts here and there, you need to envision yourself as the person you want to be a year from now and start becoming her. And we have a page in the blueprint download you can fill out to walk you through this, but this really is key to bringing it all together – your goals, your action plan, and your mindset.
STEP 3: MAKE NEW HABITS
SO! This year you are going to be a new person with new goals! That’s what we all think at the beginning of January, right? And then, many of us, fall flat on our faces – sometimes even in that first week! So much of this simply comes down to our third step, habits. We all know things we want to improve on in our lives and things we wish we didn’t do. Maybe you want to watch less tv, or eat healthier, or work out more often. Maybe you want to be better about planning in advance more or communicating with your clients more frequently. Maybe you need to stop saying yes to so many things that, ultimately, aren’t helping you meet your goals!
To get there, we have to look at how habits are broken and how they are created. There’s three main things we’ll look at today that we picked up from the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear: 1. Make it obvious and 2. Make it attractive (or unattractive) 3. Make it easy
1 – Make it obvious:
Make a list of the timeframe or actions that you want to change in order to make the best out of your year. For example – you are tired of having your mornings turn into grumpy always late type of mornings. It’s a horrible start to your day and you know you could be more productive if you weren’t herding grumpy squirrels in the morning, while trying to look presentable when you drop your kids off in the morning. SO – Write a detailed list of your morning. Aimee’s, for example, looks like this:
Are those actions positive or negative actions? How could you change each of these steps in order to improve this routine?
Another way to make your day REALLY obvious and allow yourself to analyze how you are habitually spending your time throughout the day is – TIME BLOCKING. This is honestly a whole other episode in itself, but this strategy is magical in helping you see how you NEED to spend your day (instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media multiple times throughout the day, which I (Anna!) have a bad habit of, and it’s a great way to hold yourself accountable for your to do list. Motivation is overrated, environment often matters more. People think they lack motivation, when they really lack clarity. Time blocking is one strategy to give you that.
2 – Make it attractive OR unattractive:
One premise James talks about in his book is that there’s no such thing as a good or bad habit, only effective/non effective habits. One of Aimee’s BIGGEST ineffective habits, for example, is watching TV. It’s pretty much an addiction for her and it’s SO easy for her to slide right back into binge watching her favorite shows. That is NOT an effective way to meet her goals, so we chatted a bit about how to change her habits:
To Reduce ineffective habits: The best thing you can do is reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.
So for Aimee’s TV issue, she could ask her husband to hide the remote.
She could unplug the TV to create an extra barrier between thinking about watching tv and actually turning it on. She could choose to NOT work in the living room where the TV is staring at her in the face. She could also use TV as like a reward for completing her tasks for goals for the day, so it feels like a positive habit/reward instead of negative.
My (Anna’s) big issue is getting sucked into social media when I should be working. It’s this horrible habit for me. When I try to focus on a task and sit down and work, after like 1 or 2 minutes, I find myself reaching for my phone to check notifications, and then 20 minutes later I realize I’ve been scrolling mindlessly rather than getting my work done. So to CREATE friction I could turn off my notifications on my phone.
Aimee also suggested that I could close out Facebook on my computer. Then, schedule in times during your block scheduling to check-in, but set a timer!
Another way to change an ineffective habit is to SAY NO! So often someone asks us to do something and we just say yes. We don’t think about how this will effect our goals or our progress in altering our habits. Once you know what you’re going to need to “say no to”, it’s important to prep yourself so that if you encounter something that you want to say no to, you know how you’re going to handle it. A lot of us are people-pleasers, and we have a hard time saying no, especially if someone is asking for help from us. There is a really simple way that you can deal with this! So simple! You can create, right now, what we call a “broken record” statement for yourself. A phrase that you can say when someone asks you to do something for them, or when a project comes up that not part of your “yes’s.” The one that we like to use is simply, “let me check my calendar and get back to you.” This will help establish boundaries, buy you some more time to decide if the request should be a yes or a no, and keep your from adding time or energy consuming stuff to your plate so that you can say YES to the things you really want for yourself.
Basically the key to making an ineffective habit less attractive is to face temptations less frequently not just try harder!
So, now that we gone through ineffective habits – how do you encourage effective habits? Often, a ineffective habit is in your way, so start by addressing that first, but another really helpful way to encourage healthier habits is to surround yourself by family and friends that will help shape the new habits you want to create. Peer pressure can be a very effective way to create habits. Don’t have a lot of friends and family that fit the description? Find an online community to join that you can relate to AND will help you establish your new habits – maybe even hold you accountable too! For example: Working out, with people who do it and who you like to be around. And it’s the same for business building. Join groups you relate to that can help you stay motivated and focused in your business. For example, the Business and Motherhood Community is a group full of MOMS (you can relate to) who all want to better their businesses (helping you form more effective habits).
3 – Make it easy
Stop asking yourself ‘how long do I have to do this until it becomes a habit? But your blinders on, stop worrying about how long it’ll take, and put in the daily work! Put in your reps, don’t ask how long it will take to create a habit, just put in your reps. The amount of time it’ll take you to create a habit or reach your goals is different for every person and also for every habit, and those even vary by person.
Another way to help yourself make it easy is to prime your environment. It’s hard to create a positive habit in a negative environment. When it comes to a diet, the best way to change your environment to support a new habit is to remove all the temptation. Don’t buy crap food into the house. Instead, you fill your house with healthy snacks and meals, that are what you want to feed yourself. Wanna draw more, put your art supplies within easy reach. Wanna have more productive days? Schedule your day out with time blocking.
One of Aimee’s FAVORITE strategies James refers to is The 2 minute rule: People always say start small when creating a habit, and then they start too big, and fail. Think of your goal and then just spend 2 min on it everyday. Running every morning? Put on your shoes and step outside the door, that’s it! Want to be better at keeping track of your business finances this year? Start by spending 2 minutes on it EVERY. DAY. I find it so overwhelming to create new habits, but when you hear this – it just makes it so feasible!
ALSO, MASTER THE ART OF SHOWING UP. Show up every single day. For yourself, for your family, and for your business.
Be the person that put their running shoes on before worrying about how far you’ve run.
Progress not perfection. If you tell yourself all you have to do is 2 min, and you do that you check it off and feel accomplished and you are rewarding yourself. One of the most powerful forms of reward is progress – SO START SMALL.
The very last thing we want to leave you with is that as goal-driven entrepreneurs, we often plan all of this out and then we rush from one task to the next, always focused on our next big idea or next big goal as soon as we cross something off the list! Taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments, and reward yourself for hitting your goals can shift SO much in your business and your life, so as you create your plans, don’t forget to list out how you will reward yourself for hitting each of your goals this year, and take the time to celebrate your wins and accomplishments!
OK, whew! This episode is so chock full of information and big changes for your business. We’ll be digging further into a lot of these topics in future episodes, but we hope that if you haven’t already, you can set aside some time to work on the big picture of your business and make sure you’re moving in the direction of your dreams. Don’t forget to click here to download this episode’s freebie! We’ve designed it to help you put into action some of what we’ve talked about today! If you are interested in joining in on more conversation about this topic and joining us in the Business and Motherhood Community!
As always, we hope this info has been helpful for you! If it has, could you please pop a review over to us? You can leave it here on your podcast platform or send it to us via email! Talk to you guys next time!
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